Take a moment and check in with your body.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and monitor how things feel. Roll your shoulders down and back, away from your ears. Feel different? How about your jaw? Open your mouth wide and close it a few times. Have you been clenching your teeth and not realised it? What about your lower back, hips, legs? Are they tight and stiff? Are you finding it a little tougher than usual to get out of your desk chair? These are all signs of how stress affects your body.
Our bodies and brain are intricately connected through systems like the endocrine system. Unfortunately, our brains haven’t figured out the difference between thinking about your boss yelling at you, and your boss actually yelling at you. This can cause the endocrine system to pump out high levels of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, when they are not needed. When this happens, the body responds by triggering the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and we stay in a “fight or flight” mode. The muscles tighten, pupils dilate, blood pressure rises, digestion slows and the immune system is suppressed. Most people live in some level of SNS response due to day to day stressors.
Massage therapy can help the body “switch on” the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS allows the body to “rest and digest”. Hormones such as serotonin are released, helping ease relaxation, decrease blood pressure, increase digestion and circulation.
If you’ve found yourself feeling more tired, stiff and sore, or just more irritable than usual, it’s probably time for a massage.
~ Becky, RMT